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Study highlights need for coordination of care in stage 2 and 3 rectal cancer treatment
Date:5/15/2012

(Edmonton) Research from the University of Alberta provides new insight into treatment patterns for people with stage two and three rectal cancerinformation that ultimately will help physicians improve care strategies for patients provincewide.

Lead researcher Marcy Winget, an epidemiologist with the School of Public Health, says the study of more than 900 patients with rectal cancer is a first step to addressing gaps in care and ensuring that general practitioners, surgeons and oncologists improve co-ordination of treatment for patients.

"Co-ordinating patient care is a challenge health-care agencies face around the worldhow do we maximize co-ordination? There isn't a single answer," said Winget, who also holds an appointment with Cancer Care, Alberta Health Services. "One of the things this study shows is there is room for improvement in co-ordinating health care. We as a medical community need to figure out how to improve it."

The study, published in a recent issue of Clinical Oncology, is one of five research papers by Winget and her team of graduate students on the quality of colorectal cancer care in Alberta. They examined records of rectal cancer patients diagnosed from 2002 to 2005.

The goal was to determine whether patients received treatment consistent with guidelines and to identify patient groups at risk of not receiving guideline treatment. Canadian guidelines call for a minimum of surgery followed by chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be given before or after surgery.

The study showed that 54 per cent of patients did not receive treatment consistent with the guidelines, including 18 per cent who did not see an oncologista necessary step to receive chemotherapy. Some 28 per cent saw an oncologist but did not receive chemotherapy, and eight per cent received chemotherapy late (more than 12 weeks after surgery).

The study also examined demographic data such as age, income and area of
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Contact: Bryan Alary
bryan.alary@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

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